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Romney, Perry, Bachmann Run Close Among GOP Primary Voters

The inclusion of likely candidate Rick Perry has tightened the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination dramatically, with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney still ahead – but just barely.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters finds Romney earning 22% support, closely followed by Perry, the Texas governor who is expected to enter the race soon, with 18% of the vote. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is in third place with 16%. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

In mid-June, Romney posted a 33% to 19% lead over Bachmann among likely primary voters, with Georgia businessman Herman Cain in third place with 10% of the vote.

Cain now gets nine percent (9%) support, just behind Texas Congressman Ron Paul who is in fourth place with the backing of 10% of primary voters. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich picks up six percent (6%) of the vote, followed by ex-Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty with three percent (3%) support and John Huntsman, the former Utah governor who just stepped down as U.S. ambassador to China, with two percent (2%). Four percent (4%) of primary voters prefer some other candidate, none of whom received 1% of the vote on their own. Nine percent (9%) are undecided.

Thirty-nine percent (39%) of likely GOP Primary voters say they are members of the Tea Party. Forty-three percent (43%) say they are not members, but another 17% are not sure.

Perry leads among Tea Party members with 28% support. Bachmann runs second in this group with 22% of the vote, with Romney at 16% closely followed by Cain’s 13%. Among primary voters who are not Tea Party members, Romney captures 29% of the vote. Perry (13%), Bachmann (11%) and Paul (10%) follow at a distance.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely GOP Primary Voters was conducted on July 28, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. Likely GOP Primary Voters include both Republicans and unaffiliated voters likely to vote in a GOP Primary. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC . See methodology

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